By Adam Welsch
Have you ever had trouble sleeping late at night, turned on the TV, and run across one of those shapewear infomercials that promised that one revolutionary garment could solve all of your figure-improvement needs? Or, have you ever browsed through a lingerie department and thought, “Why do they make so many different kinds of shapewear? Who’d ever need all of that?” The fact is that the wide variety of products available to shape, control, and smooth a woman’s figure serves an equally wide variety of purposes that no one garment (or even a few) can serve by itself. Shapewear’s no different than the outerwear fashions it complements – it’s a category of apparel that’s most useful and enjoyable when its many different components are collected as an ensemble and worn on different occasions.
Why? There are a few reasons. First, there are different degrees of performance – or levels of control – that shapewear styles deliver, and different situations will demand different levels. For example, the type of outfit you choose to wear can dictate the level of control you’ll need. To wear a tighter-fitting dress, you might want something that changes your shape. A firm-control garment could be just the thing. On the contrary, a piece of shapewear giving light control might be just fine when donning a loose-fitting blouse with baggy pants. Also, the length of time you anticipate wearing an outfit can dictate the level of control you’ll want from your shapewear. If you’re attending church or a formal affair that will only last a few hours, you may be more willing to sacrifice a little comfort in order to gain the substantial results from wearing an extra-firm control garment; on the other hand, if you’re dressing for a long day at the office, choosing something that delivers comfortable-firm control might be the better choice. You won’t get quite the same results (which you may not need), but you’ll feel good all day long.
Second, no one piece of shapewear can effectively deliver the shaping, control, or smoothing you might want for all the different parts of your body. The reason there are so many different cuts – or silhouettes – of shapewear is that each one is made to target different parts of a woman’s body. Since most women have more than one area they’d like to shape, control, or smooth, and different fashions they might wear that highlight or expose different areas, an arsenal of various shapewear weapons is necessary to look outstanding in the greatest number of fashion situations. For example, when wearing tighter-fitting slacks, a woman who wants to target her inner or outer thighs might choose a thigh slimmer. If she also wants to prevent the dreaded “Muffin Top” from appearing, she might choose to wear a high-waist brief or waist cincher when wearing her favorite pair of jeans. A clingy, knit dress, which leaves little to the imagination, might demand a light-control cami that helps smooth some of the bumps over her torso. And a strapless dress may require a strapless bodybriefer, to allow her to show off her shoulders and, at the same time, control her tummy and hide those love handles.
Third, it’s easy to forget since it’s underwear, but shapewear comes in a variety of colors. Having the right color, in the right piece, for the right situation requires a more extensive wardrobe than would otherwise exist if made up of only one color. For most women, on most occasions, the choice of shapewear color is dictated by the color of the outerwear fashions to be worn. Today, the most popular color for shapewear is beige, followed by black and then white. And depending on the style, various fashion colors may also be available. (There’s nothing like a pink cami or torsette to liven up Valentine’s Day!)
Think of it this way. You want to give yourself the most fashion flexibility you can. Some days you might want more control, other days less. Some outfits might call for a little help in the thighs, others for assistance with your tummy, waist, or backside. Today may be a “beige” day, tomorrow a “white” day, and Saturday a “black” night. The shapewear you own has to be shapewear that you’ll wear. It must address the problem areas you identify, compliment not compromise the outfits with which it’s worn, and – most importantly – be comfortable. Having a complete wardrobe of shapewear is the only way to ensure that you will achieve that fashion flexibility.CC Image courtesy of Darwin Bell on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/ / CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy of antmoose on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/antmoose/ / CC BY 2.0